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Picking the right climbing coach for you

Updated: Jun 3

With the growing popularity of climbing coaching, there are now a lot of options for coaches out there, both virtual and in-person. Though it’s a great problem to have, it can make choosing just one pretty tough! I’ll help you navigate that decision by giving you the most important factors to consider when picking a climbing coach. These five questions will help you decide whether a certain coach is right for you. 

1. Is this coach qualified to coach you? 

This is the most important question and the first place to start. It is also one of the few things on this list that is pretty much non-negotiable. Your coach should be qualified to coach you! Look for certifications, degrees, or other relevant educational qualifications. If you have specific needs like hyper-mobility or postpartum, look for additional relevant qualifications or experience. Remember that being a high level climber alone does not make them qualified to be a coach; they need to demonstrate that they not only understand climbing, but understand how to teach it to someone else. 

2. Has this coach successfully coached climbers who have a similar climbing/training background as you? 

You can find this information in testimonials, or ask them directly: “What is your experience with coaching climbers in X discipline? / at Y grade? / with Z years of experience?” If most of their testimonials are coming from climbers in a significantly different experience level or grade range than you (higher OR lower), then that coach might not be the best fit for you. Similarly, as a more obvious example, if they primarily coach boulderers and you’re a sport climber, they’re probably not the right coach for you. 

3. What are your goals, and has this coach worked with climbers who have similar goals as you? 

Whether that’s improving at slopers, learning to climb dynamically, projecting sport routes, working through fear of falling, finding a balance between work and play… having a coach who has experience coaching toward this goal will be valuable to you. This becomes even more important as you become a more experienced climber, and start having more specific goals, such as certain projects or specialized technique/strength aspects. 

4. Has this coach worked with climbers who have similar life conditions as you?

For example, if you’re a new parent who is struggling to fit training with raising kids, you probably want a coach who has experience coaching climbers in that situation (or going through it themselves)! This may also be that you have a really physical or time-demanding job; that you live far away from a gym and only get limited days to train; that you are female, non-binary, LGBTQ+, and/or POC; etc. This is not a requirement, but definitely helps to have someone who understands on a deeper level how you navigate through climbing & life!

5. Does their coaching philosophy resonate with you? 

Their general message and vibe should resonate with you! If you thrive on flexibility and compassion, you probably won’t vibe with the hardcore no-excuses coach. Similarly, if you thrive with tough love and discipline, you might love that same coach! The coach-climber relationship is really critical in forming an effective & lasting partnership. You should feel comfortable with and have trust in your coach and their approach for it to be a valuable partnership. Pick someone that you feel is credible, reliable, and approachable!

Affordability is another factor that will usually come into play, but that is more straightforward. If you feel that a certain coach is out of your budget, ask about flexible payment plans, or lower-tier offerings that allow you to work with them in a reduced capacity at a more affordable price. 

If you’ve been in contact with a coach, but are finding that they’re just not the one for you, ask them for other coaches that they recommend! Most climbing coaches are happy to recommend their peers, and they just might have someone who fits who you’re looking for.

And remember that even if you hire a coach, and then find that they’re just not the right fit for you, you don’t have to keep working with them. Even if they were a great fit for you before, and now no longer are. Life changes, you change, and your needs change with that! It’s okay to move on. Have a respectful, honest conversation with them about it.

Remember that there are a lot of great coaches out there, but the best one is the one that fits YOU. 

If you are looking to hire a climbing coach and you are a beginner or intermediate climber who is new to training, that fits right into my specialty! Or, if you are looking for something different, I have many other coaches that I could refer you to. Feel free to reach out via the “Contact” page or on my Instagram @pinkpointclimbing.


If this article helped you, you can help me out by sharing it on social media or sending it to someone who might also benefit from it. You can follow me on Instagram @pinkpointclimbing for more content about training for beginner & intermediate climbers!


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